This week we returned to the Alpine Lakes Wilderness area near Stevens Pass, Washington with Lake Dorothy (sometimes written as Dorothy Lake) as our destination. The hike afforded two options; a 4 mile round trip to the lake and back or a 6 to 7 mile round trip continuing around the lake for a couple more miles before turning around and starting back. Both options had nice picturesque places to stop for lunch and views of the lake.
The sign at the trailhead says it is a 1½-mile hike to the lake but the hiking book says 2 miles. The hike up, up being the operative word, was fairly steep especially the last section. We started at 2200 ft and ended at about 3000 ft for an elevation gain of approximately 850 ft.
The trail is difficult because it is rocky, has lots of exposed roots, and climbs all the way with jillions of stairs! I find the stairs to be more difficult than switch back paths mostly because the steps are not uniform and it puts a lot of strain on the knees and upper legs both going up and coming back down. A trekking pole is an asset and in some places a necessity. Another must have is some type of bug repellent. The day we went there were swarms of bugs every time we stopped to rest.
Stairs, stairs, and more stairs
The lake was indicated on this sign as "outlet spur"
This hike had more wildflowers than most of the others we have gone on thus far. We counted 30 different kinds including bog orchids and another wild orchid called Twayblade. Bob saw a Cascade or Tiger Lily but I did not see it. We did see lots of columbines, marsh marigolds, queen’s cup, lily of the valley, trillium, vanilla leaf, bunchberry, salmon berry, thimbleberry, foamflower, arnica, goat’s beard, wintergreen, twisted stalk, fairy bells, and many others. The deer ferns were so much fun to look at because they start as a long tall stem with a tightly curled top that gradually unfolds to the frond shape.
A deer fern poking up between other plants. The photo below shows the spiral opening to form fronds.
Ferns growing in the crevasses of the rock
The Twayblade is a very tiny plant in the orchid family approximately 1 1/2 inches tall.
The bog orchid grows to about 5 or 6 inches tall but the flowers are very tiny.
Star Solomon’s Seal
Mountain Ash in bud, almost ready to bloom
We think this may be Louse wort
The trail has lots of old trees like this one that Bob is leaning against. Part of the trail is a boardwalk with stairs.
Camp Robber’s Creek
Camp Robber’s Creek comes down forming a waterfall and joins with the Miller River a short distance from where this picture was taken. The sound of rushing water from both Camp Robber's Creek and Miller River can be heard well before it is possible to see them. Glimpses of the rivers can be seen through the trees from the trail but it is not until one is standing on the bridge that crosses the torrent that they can truly be seen in their beauty, force, and roaring water sound.
Time to find a convenient place to sit and eat lunch before starting the return trip.
One last look at this very pretty lake before leaving.